The Corps is a lead agency in addressing flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and tribal and recreation concerns in the Rio Grande Basin.
The agency shares concern with others about the basin and its tributaries, as it faces multiple environmental problems like ecosystem degradation, competing demands for minimal resources, timing and delivery of water into and through the basin and water quality, as well as climate changes.
To discuss solutions, the agency has joined representatives from federal, state, local and tribal entities across Texas, New Mexico and Colorado to review technical, professional and public concerns during ‘stakeholder’ meetings.
Albuquerque District hosted a meeting that focused primarily on the basin in New Mexico, and a meeting took place in Austin, Texas, that concentrated on the basin in Texas. A meeting is scheduled for May 7 and 8 at Adams State College in Colorado to focus on the issues facing Colorado, as the headwaters state for the Rio Grande.
“These meetings help to bring stakeholders in the basin together to discuss issues and opportunities and form potential partnerships to address these issues,” said District Civil Works Project Manager Alicia Austin Johnson. “The Corps, for instance, will follow-up on potential partnerships that involve Corps’ authorities and provide resources as feasible and applicable to support other efforts. For continuity, solutions will likely be readdressed at the next basin meeting to keep momentum.”
One product that stakeholders from across the basin have expressed interest in is a basin-wide database for sharing information, modeled after the Upper Mississippi Basin Long-term Management Program. The provision for such was included in the recently expired authorization for the Rio Grande Environmental Management Program. Reauthorization of this program is a goal for several stakeholders.
“One of the most valuable aspects of the basin meetings is the ability to network and make connections that may shape the future of water resources planning, as it pertains to this important and legendary water source,” Austin Johnson said.